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Port Washington to use $18M in bonds for water protection plan

Officials at the Port Washington Water Pollution Control District will soon launch a five-year plan to update and modernize the district’s infrastructure and protect the waters in Manhasset Bay and the Long Island Sound.

At a March 20 meeting, the North Hempstead Town Board unanimously voted to approve the issuance of $18.8 million in bonds.

“Everything we’ve done in the past is really at the end of its lifespan,” said district superintendent Windsor Kinney. “Most equipment has a 20-year lifespan, and we’re going on 30.”

Kinney said the plans include digitally mapping more than 67 miles of sewer lines, updating the wastewater treatment plant, rehabilitating and replacing valves and upgrading pump stations. He added that the average household in the district will see their taxes increase by about $45 annually.

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said the projects are a key priority.

“It’s not sexy. It’s underground, but it is so vital,” Bosworth said at the board meeting.

The district serves more than 28,000 residents and businesses in the Port Washington area, including parts of the villages of Baxter Estates, Flower Hill and Port Washington North.

The bonded funds will only be used as projects begin. The first scheduled project will be to improve collection systems for street sewer lines; the district will likely go out to bid within the next two months. In August, the district plans to begin to digitally map its infrastructure and modernize its tracking of permits and collection systems.

“Right now, we are working with paper maps and index cards . . . A lot of this knowledge is inside our heads,” Kinney said. “Once a lot of us are gone, we are going to be leaving a lot of people who aren’t as experienced as we are.”

Longer-term projects such as upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant will likely begin in 2019, Kinney said.

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